What to look for in an online RN to BS in Nursing program

There has never been a better time to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). It has been five years since the Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation issued a report on the state of nursing and its future. The report called for 80 percent of nurses to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree by 2020, and many medical institutions are already striving to employ a high percentage of nurses with a BSN. If you are thinking of earning a BS in Nursing, the first step is to choose the program that best fits your personal and professional situation.

The choices of programs can be overwhelming

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), there are about 700 RN to BS in Nursing programs offered by colleges and universities in this country. The first step is to set parameters on such things as the cost of tuition, prerequisites, the number of credits required for graduation, and whether the school is accredited.

Why is accreditation important?

Not all online RN to BS in Nursing programs are created equal when it comes to accreditation – a process through which schools can demonstrate that their programs meet national education standards for quality and integrity. Nursing programs should be accredited by either the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Questions to consider when choosing an online RN to BS in Nursing program

Other questions to ask about any online RN to BS in Nursing program that you are considering include:

  • Is it completely online, or are trips to the campus required?
  • Is it affordable, and what is the payment program?
  • Does the time required to devote to the program fit my personal schedule and obligations?
  • How long does it take to complete the program?
  • Are prerequisites required and, if so, what are they?
  • Does the program operate on a traditional academic calendar or are there more options?
  • Are clinical assignments practice-based or does the program require clinical assignments in addition to work?
  • How current do my other college credits have to be?
  • Is personal coaching available, and who provides it?

More than 3.5 million people in this country are learning through online programs. There are ample reasons for being among these students and earning a BS in Nursing: having better job opportunities and a greater variety of opportunities, being eligible for leadership roles, achieving the first step to obtaining higher degrees, enjoying the satisfaction of achievement, and knowing you are working to your full potential. The first step in fulfilling these goals could be making the connection with the right online RN to BS in Nursing program

Learn more about the University of Rhode Island’s online RN to BS in Nursing program.


American Nurses Association. "Recommendations from the IOM report on the future of nursing,"

Rosseter, Robert. "Degree completion programs for registered nurses: RN to master’s degree and RN to baccalaureate programs,"

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